Thoughts, stories and events to share

Access Points for Employers: Mind The Gap

Sophie O'Sullivan, about 4 years ago

Last fall, we attended a half-day training event on safe and fair recruitment in the construction industry run by Dominic Headley in collaboration with Mind the Gap and Nacro. The event was hosted at Bounce Back.

For employers looking to access a new talent pool, training events are a great opportunity to learn more about the practicalities of hiring those with a conviction in terms of policy and procedure. Furthermore, businesses can network with one another and share their experience and knowledge.

On the day, Dominic walked us through a whistle-stop tour of inclusive recruitment and disclosure. It was a very interactive session. We worked together as a group to look at risk assessment interview questions and example case studies to put what we had learnt in action. There was an opportunity for any questions to be addressed after the session and a chance to network during lunch. After the event, Dominic sent over a handy resource pack. Relevant contact points were also signposted, for example Nacro's Employer Advice Service and the DBS eligibility tool.


The cost of failed recruitment is £132K. 1 in 3 adult males and 1 in 9 adult females aged between 18 and 52 have a criminal record. With this in mind, it is vital to adapt recruitment strategies and open up recruitment to include those with a criminal conviction.

During the training, we discussed how disclosure can be quite traumatic for candidates if the question is not framed in an appropriate manner. In line with the Ban the Box movement, it is best to avoid tick boxes on application forms in favour of a partnership mode rather than interrogation. It is better to look at self-disclosure at the interview stage.

Also, some employers may not have any clear statement on their website that they do hire those with convictions, which further disrupts access to this talent pool. A signposting initiative might be the best way forward, for example the YOUNITED kitemark.

We looked at the differences in approach required for both home and overseas applicants. There was also talk about how to build-in support mechanisms within the business, primarily via partnerships with other businesses, specialist recruitment agencies like Offploy and voluntary organisations.

The candidate might not be a good fit for certain environments. However, that does not mean that they cannot work for the organisation in an alternative setting. Risk assessments should be carried out on a holistic case-by-case basis.

Key questions:

How does your business indicate to people with convictions that they are welcome to apply to jobs?

What work are individuals doing to reduce their risk of re-offending?

How have employees changed since working with us?